Diversity in Clubs & Community

Friday 08 March 2024

It’s not just on track where growing numbers of females are being welcomed. For the past three years the number of newly registered female marshals has grown by more than 20 per cent annually: a meaningful increase generating huge benefits to all those involved in the sport whether spectating, supporting or competing.

Sue Sanders, Motorsport UK’s Director of Volunteer & Competitor Development, attributes the escalating numbers to a number of different factors resulting directly from the governing body’s determination to embrace diversity.

“We have seen a much better use of more gender neutral language and this has been done across the vast majority of publications and communications starting with the Year Book,” she revealed.

Sanders says there’s been a snowball effect, too. As the volunteer ‘army’ becomes more diverse and welcoming, so more women start recruiting other women. “There certainly is a greater sense of community and a real feeling that there are ‘more of us’ than previously,” she confirmed.

And there are statistics to prove there really are ‘more of us’ at all levels in the sport. There are now 175 registered female rescue and recovery officials, 33 female safety car officers and 55 registered female scrutineers. All big rises in areas where males have predominated in the past.

It is the same story when it comes the Clerks of the Course. No fewer than 31 females are registered to perform such duties at kart races, 29 at rally and rallycross events and 15 at circuit races: again substantial increases.

As you’d expect, leading from the front, Motorsport UK is incredibly supportive of females in the sport. Sanders’ own Volunteer and Competitor Development team consists of five females and two males – what’s more, two of the females are very active volunteers. The Sporting Teams have 40 per cent female representation within which two of the females are licensed Stewards.

“Over the last decade, I have seen female participation in motorsport go from strength to strength,” reported Grace King, who was recently awarded the Motorsport UK Volunteer of the Award for her many roles within the Dungannon Motor Club and as Secretary for the Association of Northern Ireland Car Clubs (ANICC).

“The change is all thanks to the ongoing initiatives that have been introduced and through meaningful change at club level as more and more females take on significant roles of responsibility. When I took over as the Secretary of the ANICC, I made history by becoming the first female office bearer and, through my involvement with Girls on Track, to introduce a Community Hub into Northern Ireland. My hope is that I can inspire the younger generation of females to get involved whether it be through volunteering or competing.”

From the competitive perspective, the promotion of affordable and fun StreetCar opportunities, which encourages drivers to enter motorsport events in their everyday road cars, has also provided an easy grass roots entry level for female as well as male newcomers – a fact confirmed by the escalating numbers of females applying for RS Clubman licences, which currently stands at 16%, treble the amount of paid licences.

Watch Motorsport UK TV in exploring the ways in which you can get involved through scrutineering (HERE) and marshalling (HERE).